What does sharp mean?

Definitions for sharp

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word sharp.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. sharpnoun

    a musical notation indicating one half step higher than the note named

  2. sharpadjective

    a long thin sewing needle with a sharp point

  3. crisp, sharpadjective

    (of something seen or heard) clearly defined

    "a sharp photographic image"; "the sharp crack of a twig"; "the crisp snap of dry leaves underfoot"

  4. acuate, acute, sharp, needlelikeadjective

    ending in a sharp point

  5. acute, discriminating, incisive, keen, knifelike, penetrating, penetrative, piercing, sharpadjective

    having or demonstrating ability to recognize or draw fine distinctions

    "an acute observer of politics and politicians"; "incisive comments"; "icy knifelike reasoning"; "as sharp and incisive as the stroke of a fang"; "penetrating insight"; "frequent penetrative observations"

  6. astute, sharp, shrewdadjective

    marked by practical hardheaded intelligence

    "a smart businessman"; "an astute tenant always reads the small print in a lease"; "he was too shrewd to go along with them on a road that could lead only to their overthrow"

  7. sharp, sharp-worded, tartadjective


    "sharp criticism"; "a sharp-worded exchange"; "a tart remark"

  8. shrill, sharpadjective

    having or emitting a high-pitched and sharp tone or tones

    "a shrill whistle"; "a shrill gaiety"

  9. abrupt, precipitous, sharpadjective

    extremely steep

    "an abrupt canyon"; "the precipitous rapids of the upper river"; "the precipitous hills of Chinese paintings"; "a sharp drop"

  10. sharpadjective

    keenly and painfully felt; as if caused by a sharp edge or point

    "a sharp pain"; "sharp winds"

  11. sharpadjective

    having or made by a thin edge or sharp point; suitable for cutting or piercing

    "a sharp knife"; "a pencil with a sharp point"

  12. sharpadjective

    (of a musical note) raised in pitch by one chromatic semitone

    "C sharp"

  13. sharpadjective

    very sudden and in great amount or degree

    "a sharp drop in the stock market"

  14. sharpadverb

    quick and forceful

    "a sharp blow"

  15. sharply, sharp, acutelyadverb

    changing suddenly in direction and degree

    "the road twists sharply after the light"; "turn sharp left here"; "the visor was acutely peaked"; "her shoes had acutely pointed toes"


  1. sharpnoun

    The symbol , placed after the name of a note in the key signature or before a note on the staff to indicate that the note is to be played a semitone higher.

  2. sharpnoun

    A note that is played a semitone higher than usual; denoted by the name of the note that is followed by the symbol .

  3. sharpnoun

    A note that is sharp in a particular key.

    The piece was difficult to read after it had been transposed, since in the new key many notes were sharps.

  4. sharpnoun

    The scale having a particular sharp note as its tonic.

    Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata" is written in C minor (C sharp minor.)

  5. sharpnoun

    Something which is sharp.

    Place sharps in the specially marked red container for safe disposal.

  6. sharpnoun

    A hypodermic syringe.

  7. sharpnoun

    A scalpel or other edged instrument used in surgery.

  8. sharpnoun

    A dishonest person; a cheater.

    The casino kept in the break room a set of pictures of known sharps for the bouncers to see.

  9. sharpverb

    To raise the pitch of a note half a step making a natural note a sharp.

    That new musician must be tone deaf: he sharped half the notes of the song!

  10. sharpadverb


    I'll see you at twelve o'clock sharp.

  11. sharpadverb

    In a higher pitch than is correct or desirable.

    I didn't enjoy the concert much because the tenor kept going sharp on the high notes.

  12. sharpadjective

    Able to cut easily.

    I keep my knives sharp so that they don't slip unexpectedly while carving.

  13. sharpadjective


    My nephew is a sharp lad; he can count to 100 in six languages, and he's only five years old.

  14. sharpadjective

    Able to pierce easily; pointed.

    Ernest made the pencil too sharp and accidentally stabbed himself with it.

  15. sharpadjective

    Higher than usual by one semitone (denoted by the symbol after the name of the note).

  16. sharpadjective

    Higher in pitch than required.

    The orchestra's third violin several times was sharp about an eighth of a tone.

  17. sharpadjective

    Having an intense, acrid flavour.

    Milly couldn't stand sharp cheeses when she was pregnant, because they made her nauseated.

  18. sharpadjective

    sudden and intense.

    A pregnant woman during labor normally experiences a number of sharp contractions.

  19. sharpadjective

    Illegal or dishonest.

    Michael had a number of sharp ventures that he kept off the books.

  20. sharpadjective

    Exact, precise, accurate; keen.

    You'll need sharp aim to make that shot.

  21. sharpadjective

    Offensive, critical, or acrimonious, as sharp criticism.

    When the two rivals met, first there were sharp words, and then a fight broke out.

  22. sharpadjective

    Stylish or attractive.

    You look so sharp in that tuxedo!

  23. sharpadjective

    Observant; alert; acute.

    Keep a sharp watch on the prisoners. I don't want them to escape!

  24. sharpadjective

    Forming a small angle; forming an angle of less than ninety degrees.

    Drive down Main for three quarters of a mile, then make a sharp right turn onto Pine.

  25. sharpadjective

    Said of as extreme a value as possible.

    Sure, any planar graph can be five-colored. But that result is not sharp: in fact, any planar graph can be four-colored. That is sharp: the same can't be said for any lower number.

  26. Etymology: From scearp, from skarpaz (cf. West Frisian skerp, Dutch scherp, German scharf), from (s)kerb(h) (cf. Irish cearb 'keen; cutting', Latin aacerbus 'tart, bitter', Tocharian B kärpye 'rough', Latvian skârbs 'sharp, rough', Russian 'notch', Albanian tharbët 'sour'), from *(s)ker- 'to cut'. More at shear.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SHARPadjective

    Etymology: scearp , Saxon; scherpe, Dutch.

    She hath tied
    Sharp tooth’d unkindness like a vulture here. William Shakespeare.

    In Ireland have I seen this stubborn Cade
    Oppose himself against a troop of kerns;
    And fought so long, ’till that his thighs with darts
    Were almost like a sharp quill’d porcupine. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    Thy tongue deviseth mischiefs, like a sharp razor working deceitfully. Ps. lii. 2.

    With edged grooving tools they cut down and smoothen away the extuberances left by the sharp pointed grooving tools, and bring the work into a perfect shape. Joseph Moxon, Mech. Ex.

    The form of their heads is narrow and sharp, that they may the better cut the air in their swift flight. More.

    There was seen some miles in the sea a great pillar of light, not sharp, but in form of a column or cylinder, rising a great way up towards heaven. Francis Bacon.

    To come near the point, and draw unto a sharper angle, they do not only speak and practise truth, but really desire its enlargement. Thomas Browne, Vulgar Errours.

    Their embryon atoms
    Light arm’d or heavy, sharp, smooth, light or slow. John Milton.

    It is so much the firmer by how much broader the bottom and sharper the top. William Temple.

    In shipping such as this, the Irish kern,
    And untaught Indian, on the stream did glide,
    Ere sharp keel’d boats to stem the flood did learn,
    Or sin-like oars did spread from either side. Dryden.

    Now as fine in his apparel as if he would make me in love with a cloak, and verse for verse with the sharpest witted lover in Arcadia. Philip Sidney.

    If we had nought but sense, each living wight,
    Which we call brute, would be more sharp than we. Davies.

    Sharp to the world, but thoughtless of renown,
    They plot not on the stage, but on the town. Dryden.

    There is nothing makes men sharper, and sets their hands and wits more at work, than want. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    Many other things belong to the material world, wherein the sharpest philosophers have never yet arrived at clear and distinct ideas. Isaac Watts.

    As the sharpest eye discerneth nought,
    Except the sun-beams in the air do shine;
    So the best soul, with her reflecting thought,
    Sees not herself, without some light divine. Davies.

    To sharp ey’d reason this would seem untrue;
    But reason I through love’s false opticks view. Dryden.

    So we, if children young diseased we find,
    Anoint with sweets the vessel’s foremost parts,
    To make them taste the potions sharp we give;
    They drink deceiv’d, and so deceiv’d they live. Fa. Qu.

    Sharp tasted citrons Median climes produce;
    Bitter the rind, but generous is the juice. Dryden.

    Different simple ideas are sometimes expressed by the same word, as sweet and sharp are applied to the objects of hearing and tasting. Isaac Watts.

    In whistling you contract the mouth, and, to make it more sharp, men use their finger. Francis Bacon, Nat. History.

    Let one whistle at the one end of a trunk, and hold your ear at the other, and the sound strikes so sharp as you can scarce endure it. Francis Bacon.

    For the various modulation of the voice, the upper end of the windpipe is endued with several cartilages to contract or dilate it, as we would have our voice flat or sharp. John Ray.

    If he should intend his voyage towards my wife, I would turn her loose to him; and what he gets more of her than sharp words, let it lie on my head. William Shakespeare.

    How often may we meet with those who are one while courteous, but within a small time after are so supercilious, sharp, troublesome, fierce and exceptious, that they are not only short of the true character of friendship, but become the very sores and burdens of society! South.

    Cease contention: be thy words severe,
    Sharp as he merits; but the sword forbear. Dryden.

    There, gentle Hermia, may I marry thee;
    And to that place the sharp Athenian law
    Cannot pursue us. William Shakespeare.

    My faulcon now is sharp and passing empty,
    And, ’till she stoop, she must not be full gorg’d;
    For then she never looks upon her lure. William Shakespeare.

    The sharp desire I had
    Of tasting. John Milton.

    That she may feel
    How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is,
    To have a thankless child. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

    He caused his father’s friends to be cruelly tortured; grieving to see them live to whom he was so much beholden, and therefore rewarded them with such sharp payment. Richard Knolles.

    Death becomes
    His final remedy; and after life
    Try’d in sharp tribulation, and refin’d
    By faith, and faithful works. John Milton, Paradise Lost, b. xi.

    It is a very small comfort that a plain man, lying under a sharp fit of the stone, receives from this sentence. John Tillotson.

    Their piety feign’d,
    In sharp contest of battle found no aid. John Milton.

    A sharp assault already is begun;
    Their murdering guns play fiercely on the walls. Dryden.

    Sharp at her utmost ken she cast her eyes,
    And somewhat floating from afar descries. Dryden.

    Is a man bound to look out sharp to plague himself, and to take care that he slips no opportunity of being unhappy? Collier.

    A clergyman, established in a competent living, is not under the necessity of being so sharp and exacting. Jonathan Swift.

    The windpipe is continually moistened with a glutinous humour, issuing out of small glandules in its inner coat, to fence it against the sharp air. John Ray.

    Nor here the sun’s meridian rays had pow’r,
    Nor wind sharp piercing, nor the rushing show’r,
    The verdant arch so close its texture kept. Alexander Pope, Odyssey.

    Sharp and subtile discourses procure very great applause; but being laid in the balance with that which sound experience plainly delivereth, they are overweighted. Richard Hooker.

    The instances you mention are the strongest and sharpest that can be urged. Digby.

    They make use of the sharpest sand, that being best for mortar, to lay bricks and tiles in. Joseph Moxon, Mech. Exer.

    His visage drawn he felt to sharp and spare. John Milton.

  2. Sharpnoun

    Etymology: from the adjective.

    It is the lark that sings so out of tune,
    Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps. William Shakespeare.

    If butchers had but the manners to go to sharps, gentlemen would be contented with a rubber at cuffs. Collier.

  3. To Sharpverb

    To make keen.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Whom the whetstone sharps to eat,
    They cry, milstones are good meat. Ben Jonson.

  4. To Sharpverb

    To play thievish tricks.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    I live upon what’s my own, whereas your scandalous life is only cheating or sharping, one half of the year, and starving the other. Roger L'Estrange.


  1. sharp

    Sharp generally refers to an object that has a thin edge or a fine point capable of cutting or piercing. It can also refer to a trait or quality that is distinct, well-defined, clear, or keen. Additionally, it can describe something having a sudden or abrupt occurrence, like a sharp noise. In music, a sharp note is slightly higher in pitch, while in intellectual terms, a sharp mind refers to high mental acuity.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sharp

    having a very thin edge or fine point; of a nature to cut or pierce easily; not blunt or dull; keen

  2. Sharp

    terminating in a point or edge; not obtuse or rounded; somewhat pointed or edged; peaked or ridged; as, a sharp hill; sharp features

  3. Sharp

    affecting the sense as if pointed or cutting, keen, penetrating, acute: to the taste or smell, pungent, acid, sour, as ammonia has a sharp taste and odor; to the hearing, piercing, shrill, as a sharp sound or voice; to the eye, instantaneously brilliant, dazzling, as a sharp flash

  4. Sharp

    high in pitch; acute; as, a sharp note or tone

  5. Sharp

    raised a semitone in pitch; as, C sharp (C/), which is a half step, or semitone, higher than C

  6. Sharp

    so high as to be out of tune, or above true pitch; as, the tone is sharp; that instrument is sharp. Opposed in all these senses to flat

  7. Sharp

    very trying to the feelings; piercing; keen; severe; painful; distressing; as, sharp pain, weather; a sharp and frosty air

  8. Sharp

    cutting in language or import; biting; sarcastic; cruel; harsh; rigorous; severe; as, a sharp rebuke

  9. Sharp

    of keen perception; quick to discern or distinguish; having nice discrimination; acute; penetrating; sagacious; clever; as, a sharp eye; sharp sight, hearing, or judgment

  10. Sharp

    eager in pursuit; keen in quest; impatient for gratification; keen; as, a sharp appetite

  11. Sharp

    fierce; ardent; fiery; violent; impetuous

  12. Sharp

    keenly or unduly attentive to one's own interest; close and exact in dealing; shrewd; as, a sharp dealer; a sharp customer

  13. Sharp

    composed of hard, angular grains; gritty; as, sharp sand

  14. Sharp

    steep; precipitous; abrupt; as, a sharp ascent or descent; a sharp turn or curve

  15. Sharp

    uttered in a whisper, or with the breath alone, without voice, as certain consonants, such as p, k, t, f; surd; nonvocal; aspirated

  16. Sharpadverb

    to a point or edge; piercingly; eagerly; sharply

  17. Sharpadverb

    precisely; exactly; as, we shall start at ten o'clock sharp

  18. Sharpnoun

    a sharp tool or weapon

  19. Sharpnoun

    the character [/] used to indicate that the note before which it is placed is to be raised a half step, or semitone, in pitch

  20. Sharpnoun

    a sharp tone or note

  21. Sharpnoun

    a portion of a stream where the water runs very rapidly

  22. Sharpnoun

    a sewing needle having a very slender point; a needle of the most pointed of the three grades, blunts, betweens, and sharps

  23. Sharpnoun

    same as Middlings, 1

  24. Sharpnoun

    an expert

  25. Sharpverb

    to sharpen

  26. Sharpverb

    to raise above the proper pitch; to elevate the tone of; especially, to raise a half step, or semitone, above the natural tone

  27. Sharpverb

    to play tricks in bargaining; to act the sharper

  28. Sharpverb

    to sing above the proper pitch


  1. Sharp

    In music, sharp, dièse, or diesis means higher in pitch and the sharp symbol raises a note by a half tone. Intonation may be flat, sharp, or both, successively or simultaneously. More specifically, in musical notation, sharp means "higher in pitch by a semitone," and has an associated symbol, which may be found in key signatures or as an accidental, as may flats. Under twelve-tone equal temperament, B sharp, for instance, sounds the same as, or is enharmonically equivalent to, C natural, and E sharp is enharmonically equivalent to F natural. In other tuning systems, such enharmonic equivalences in general do not exist. To allow extended just intonation, composer Ben Johnston uses a sharp to indicate a note is raised 70.6 cents, or a flat to indicate a note is lowered 70.6 cents. In tuning, sharp can also mean "slightly higher in pitch". If two simultaneous notes are slightly out of tune, the higher-pitched one is said to be sharp with respect to the other. Furthermore, the verb sharpen means "raise the frequency of a note, typically by a small musical interval".

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. sharp

    Prompt and attentive.--Be sharp! Make haste.--Look sharp! Lose no time. Also, an old term for a sword.

Military Dictionary and Gazetteer

  1. sharp

    Fierce; ardent; fiery; violent; impetuous. “In sharp contest of battle.”


  1. Sharp

    with a pointed tip or thin edge; opposed to blunt.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. SHARP

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Sharp is ranked #405 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Sharp surname appeared 78,990 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 27 would have the surname Sharp.

    83.5% or 66,012 total occurrences were White.
    10.5% or 8,341 total occurrences were Black.
    2.3% or 1,840 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.9% or 1,532 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    1% or 806 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.
    0.5% or 466 total occurrences were Asian.

Matched Categories

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sharp' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #2315

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sharp' in Written Corpus Frequency: #3415

  3. Adjectives Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'sharp' in Adjectives Frequency: #306

Anagrams for sharp »

  1. harps

  2. shrap

How to pronounce sharp?

How to say sharp in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of sharp in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of sharp in Pythagorean Numerology is: 8

Examples of sharp in a Sentence

  1. Miguel de Cervantes:

    Fear is sharp-sighted, and can see things under ground, and much more in the skies.

  2. Anna Faye McLeod:

    What is so fascinating about these images is that they might not be as sharp as those obtained with Hubble, but each single pixel in the image also comes with a spectrum across pretty much the entire visible wavelength range.

  3. Larry Summers:

    We are printing money, we are creating government bonds, we are borrowing on unprecedented scales, those are things that surely create more of a risk of a sharp dollar decline than we had before. And sharp dollar declines are much more likely to translate themselves into inflation than they were historically.

  4. Ted Rossman:

    We had a sharp and quick decline in credit card balances because of the stimulus, because of the pandemic, because people spent less, and they paid off debt, and now we're seeing an equally sharp run back up -- much faster than something like the financial crisis [ when ] it took five years to find the bottom and five more to climb back up.

  5. Mark Carney:

    The Bank of England's role is to help UK businesses and households manage through an economic shock that could prove large and sharp but should be temporary, the Bank's why The Bank is announcing today a comprehensive and timely package of measures to help UK households and businesses bridge across the economic disruption caused by COVID-19. These measures will help keep firms in business and people in jobs and they will prevent a temporary disruption from causing longer-lasting economic harm.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for sharp

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

  • حادArabic
  • башлы, аҡыллы, зирәк, үткерBashkir
  • во́стрыBelarusian
  • остърBulgarian
  • esmolatCatalan, Valencian
  • bystrý, ostrý, -is, přesný, s křížkem, křížek, přesněCzech
  • spids, skarpDanish
  • scharf, -is, stechend, hoch, spitz, scharfsinning, ErhöhungszeichenGerman
  • απατεώνας, κοφτερός, έντονος, αψύς, οξύνους, έξυπνος, δίεση, οξύς, αιχμηρός, οξυδερκής, ακριβώςGreek
  • akra, intensa, diesa, inteligenta, saĝa, diesoEsperanto
  • listo, afilado, agudo, filoso, agrio, sostenido, certero, en puntoSpanish
  • تیز, تند, تیزهوشPersian
  • huijari, tyylikäs, tarkka, kirpeä, vihlova, -is, terävä, kipakka, täsmällinen, ylävireinen, korotettu, korotusmerkki, pistävä, terävä-älyinen, teräesine, lurjus, korkea, tasanFinnish
  • hvassurFaroese
  • acéré, intense, âcre, âpre, coupant, vif, aigu, pointu, dièse, affilé, chic, affuté, effilé, tranchant, pile, net, serré, classe, mordant, acerbe, précisFrench
  • géarIrish
  • searbh, geur, sgaiteach, biorach, deas, guineach, rinn-gheurScottish Gaelic
  • तेज़Hindi
  • élesHungarian
  • սուր, սրամիտArmenian
  • tajamIndonesian
  • akutaIdo
  • intenso, acre, tagliente, esatto, attento, preciso, forte, losco, diesis, diesare, appuntito, intelligente, affilato, acutoItalian
  • חַדHebrew
  • するどい, シャープJapanese
  • მახვილი, დიეზიGeorgian
  • 날카로운Korean
  • تیژKurdish
  • acer, acutus, acriLatin
  • ass, asaLatvian
  • остарMacedonian
  • puntig, scherpzinnig, kruis, scherp, straf, gepunt, hoog, bijtend, stekend, snerend, acuut, sterkDutch
  • skarp, smart, -iss, spissNorwegian
  • deeníNavajo, Navaho
  • agusatOccitan
  • ostryPolish
  • inteligente, ponta, aguçado, agudo, pontudo, injusto, esperto, afiado, pontiagudo, fechado, velhaco, atento, trapaceiro, acre, sustenido, estiloso, em pontoPortuguese
  • ascuțit, diezRomanian
  • тёмный, о́стрый, шулер, смышлёный, сомни́тельный, е́дкий, -дие́з, сообрази́тельный, сметли́вый, ре́зкий, диез, то́чный, остроу́мный, ровноRussian
  • оштар, oštar, povisilicaSerbo-Croatian
  • ostrýSlovak
  • osterSlovene
  • skarp, korsförtecken, -iss, klyftig, vass, skarpsinnigSwedish
  • கூரானTamil
  • పదునైనTelugu
  • คมThai
  • diyez, keskin, tiz, sivriTurkish
  • гострийUkrainian
  • nhọnVietnamese
  • côpant, awijhîWalloon
  • 尖銳Chinese

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